Title: RoseBlood

Author: A.G. Howard

Series: N/A

Publisher: Abrams

Release Date: January 10th 2017


Three Stars

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumoured to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Guard your throats and hide your eyes. He’s not dead, you fools. Legends never die.”

Rune, respecting what will probably be the last wishes of her grandmother, has been invited to attend RoseBlood; an exclusive academy training the next opera stars in the heart of Paris. For anyone else this would be a dream come true but for Rune, who has only ever felt possessed by the music she sings, it’s a nightmare. She doesn’t want to train her voice or get over her “stage fright”, all she wants to is find out what is causing her to become possessed by certain pieces of music and stop it from happening, especially after what she did back home in America.

There are forces at play which have brought Rune to RoseBlood for a specific purpose beyond controlling her voice, however there are also forces that want her to leave RoseBlood and never look back. Meanwhile Rune’s musical possession is quickly making her enemies, and it becomes hard to tell what are cruel pranks by jealous classmates and what are sinister tricks and traps by a more powerful entity.

“This can’t be a coincidence, and there’s no longer any doubt in my mind.
I am in a horror story.”

The Phantom himself has brought Rune to RoseBlood, hoping to use Rune for his own means. However as Rune learns more about her curse she finds Thorn, a boy whom she feels strongly connected to and who has his own desires which are at war with what his father wants.

There is someone watching Rune all the time, slowly seeking to drive her away from her friends and her family leaving her utterly dependant on the Phantom and willing do his bidding, no matter the cost to her or the people she loves.

I went into this book hoping to really enjoy it. Although I haven’t read or seen Phantom of the Opera, and I know next to nothing about the story, I really loved A.G. Howard’s first series; Splintered. I expected more of the same from RoseBlood but was unfortunately left finding this new standalone lacking. The plot was slow to start which in itself wasn’t too bad but there were too many issues with the characters I just couldn’t get past.

…The Characters

“I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future.”

Rune has been possessed by music ever since she was four. With her father she was able to control it but once he died she was left ill and shaken by what her voice does to her. Rune is reluctant to attend RoseBlood, she knows with her strange gift she will quickly alienate herself among her peers. I found Rune to be a very contradictory character at times; she seemed to change her mind, often going a complete 180 from her original thoughts, which left me confused and unable to really connect with her. It felt like her emotions were removed and in spite of everything she goes through and everything she does it never seemed like there were any real consequences to her actions.

“He’d walked as a ghost in the gloomy bowels of this opera house for so long, darkness had become his brother, which was fitting, since his father was the night, and sunlight their forgotten friend.”

Thorn has lived in the darkness and the shadows for years now. Ever since he was a child left abused and hurt by what life seemed to throw at him. He is loyal to his father beyond all else, and it’s clear he loves the man unconditionally, but when he meets Rune and comes to the realisation that they are twin flames it throws all his feelings and morals into a tailspin. Very quickly Thorn starts to question everything he’s ever believed and sees his father in a new, chilling light.

I felt that Thorn’s character’s journey could have been an amazing one to read as he struggles with the difficulty of choosing between his father and his soulmate. However it never felt his character was properly developed. Everything we discover about Thorn, and Rune to some extent, felt like a case of tell and not show. There were info dumps in this book going into the character’s various back stories when we needed to know the information to continue on with the story, and it just threw the plot and the characters a little off course for me.

“How do you hate someone who pulled you from the brink of death, not once, but twice?”

I would have liked to see more character development in this book, more back story opposed to info dumps, and more of the relationship between Thorn and Rune developed organically rather than very suddenly. They’re twin flames so insta-love is kind of a factor in their relationship in this book.

…The Setting

“Maybe being here won’t be so bad after all…as long as I can avoid the music, the bloodthirsty diva duo, and the phantom’s shadow lurking around every corner.”

I mentioned this earlier in my review but I haven’t read or seen the source material this book was based on. I think if I had I may have enjoyed RoseBlood that little bit more, being able to pick up the little references and throwbacks to the original tale; the opera house converted into the school Rune attends, as well as Paris and Versailles itself. I can’t really speak for how this book follows on from Phantom of the Opera, I do know that some major changes to the characters in the original book were made in RoseBlood but I think the concept was really interesting. It would have been nice to see more of Paris or Versailles while Rune was there but I loved the atmosphere we read about in the school and the sewers underground where the Phantom made his home.

It was a struggle to come up with a rating for RoseBlood. It was good, but unfortunately the slow pacing and lack of character development counted too much against it for me to rate it any higher. You may have better luck with this book if you read and enjoyed the original Phantom of the Opera story but I just expected more from the author who wrote one of my favourite series.

What did you think of RoseBlood? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

43 thoughts on “RoseBlood

  1. I’m sorry that it was a bit of a disappointment for you. I have read The Phantom of the Opera and honestly I pretty much hated it. I just didn’t like the characters or the writing style. Sooo this is definitely a book I don’t plan on picking up, I have no interest in the story at all. I do love the music from the musical Phantom of the Opera, but that’s the only thing I really like about it. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it was a shame because I had high hopes for this book. Oh that’s too bad about not liking the original story, and in that case I definitely wouldn’t recommend this book to you. Especially considering none of the music from the Phantom of the Opera really makes it into this book.
      Thanks Anna! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not familiar with Phantom of the Opera so I would miss a lot in this book. I’m sorry it was a bit of a disappointment, especially because of the characters, they’re the glue to a plot so when they fail, the rest starts crumbling down usually. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I felt reading it as well, I do think if I had a blurb or something in my mind of how the original story went I may have enjoyed this a little more. Yeah the story itself had potential I just felt the characters let it down too much.
      Thanks Donna. 🙂


  3. Oh no, I’m sorry you ended up not enjoying this as much as you hoped you would, Beth! Especially with all of my raving about it. I seem to be very much the oddball out on the blogosphere because I’ve actually only seen disappointed reviews apart from mine. Although, if I’m being honest I think the bias of loving the original Phantom of the Opera so much meant I was bound to love this book no matter what 🙈. I do agree with you on the slow pacing and info dumps though. I didn’t mind either too much but I remember being confused a few times and it took me a while to read because of the pacing. I also wish it wouldn’t have taken so long to reveal what they were. I didn’t much care for the dangling of that piece of information. Either way, great review as always! 😁💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it was a shame because it had so much potential, and there were parts of the plot that really did have me hooked but there was always something that ended pulling me out if you get what I mean there. It’s great you enjoyed it either way though, and yeah I think if I’d had a basic background of Phantom of the Opera I would have enjoyed this book a little more, I just didn’t think about that before picking up RoseBlood.
      I think I would have been able to overlook one of the other; slow pacing or info dumps, but the two together was just too much. And yeah the reveal could have been revealed earlier as well.
      Still thanks Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely get what you mean. It’s definitely hard to thoroughly enjoy a book when you keep being pulled out of the story. I remember telling my mom while I was reading it that RoseBlood was going to be one of those reads that go either way because of how heavily it relies on the original story and even some of Gaston Leroux’s backstory. It definitely had unique aspects but I can see why it’s been so mixed. I think it might have even worked better as a duology or trilogy, you know? Less info dumps and more time to really flesh things out.
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 💕😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess for you RoseBlood went one way and for me it was the other. It happens every now and again with books, and I do think my lack of knowledge over the original Phantom of the Opera story and Gaston Leroux’s backstory hindered me a little.
        Actually yes, I know A.G. Howard can write trilogies really well and if there were more books there would have been more time to develop the world and the characters which could have worked out a lot better actually. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry you didn’t end up loving this one, Beth! I was somewhat anticipating it but after seeing your review I don’t think I’ll end up picking it up – character is a very important element of a story to me and Rune just sounds very… inconsistent. I love the idea that it’s a retelling of Phantom of the Opera, but with the slow pacing I don’t think I’ll have the patience for it.

    Great review, though! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I just don’t think this one was for me, a shame because I loved A.G. Howard’s Splintered series. It had a lot of potential, like you I loved the idea that it was a Phantom of the Opera retelling, but yeah I just wasn’t a fan of the characters at all.
      Thanks Reg! 😀 ❤


  5. Didn’t realize it was the same author that wrote the whole Splintered series. Now the cover makes a lot more sense and is much more familiar hahah Great review by the way. Sucks that the characters fell short and that the author went for more info dumps than backstory stuff. It does have a pretty cool setting though. Setting with potential! I haven’t read or watched the Phantom of the Opera yet, but it is a pretty cool source material to build a new story from! 🙂

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cover is definitely familiar, and the fact that the same author wrote both this book and Splintered was part of the draw for me because I loved the Splintered series as lot.
      Thanks so much, and yeah it’s a shame about this book, it definitely had a lot of potential. I’ve never read a book that uses the Phantom of the Opera as it’s source but unfortunately the info dumps were just too much for me to look past. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh no, sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this one as much! I haven’t read the Splintered series, but it’s always disappointing when an author’s work doesn’t reach the same quality of previously written novels, especially if those novels were favorites. I was looking forward to this one, and I will probably still pick it up but be more careful with my expectations haha. Lovely review, Beth! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah unfortunately this one just didn’t work for me, which is a shame because I really loved Splintered. I think maybe my hopes were a little too high. I also think if I knew the Phantom of the Opera story I may have enjoyed it a little more but who knows honestly.
      I do hope you enjoy this one Analee, you never know maybe going into it with lowered expectations will help.
      Thanks! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve heard some pretty mixed reviews about this one. A lot of issues seem to stem from the un-relatable characters and their lack of development as well as their strange connection/relationship. I’m sorry this one came as a slight disappointment to you. I was looking forward to reading this one because I love the Phantom of the Opera, but I think it’s okay to let this one take a backseat for now. Great review, Beth! Hope your next read is much more enjoyable 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah looking on Goodreads myself now I’ve finished this one there are some mixed reviews out there. And pretty much those were the issues I had as well. I couldn’t connect with the characters of their relationship with each other, not on any level really.
      I was going to say it may be one you end up enjoying more because you know and love the original story. I had no knowledge of the Phantom of the Opera before reading this book and maybe I should hae researched the original story at least before jumping into RoseBlood.
      Thanks Azia, and actually yes my next read was more enjoyable! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah if that’s the case, then I hope RoseBlood will come out to be a little more interesting than I think it will be if I choose to read it. But I probably won’t get to it anytime soon, tbh haha
        Oh that’s good! 😀 What’d you read??

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll keep my fingers crossed it turns out that way for you as well, and I know what you mean, I have books I need to get around to soon but have no clue when that soon will be.
        It was actually The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, which was really good! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear that it was a slight disappointment since the author wrote a favorite series of yours. I DNFed this one because of the pacing and lack of development in all aspects. It just wasn’t for me. The characters definitely lacked in development and I couldn’t relate either. Hope you’re next read is way better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it just didn’t work for me. I managed to finish it though so I guess I may have enjoyed it a little more than you gives you DNF it, although I was tempted to put it down at one point I will admit. The development just didn’t work for me either, with a slow plot like this one had at the beginning you need good character development to keep the reader interested and this one just didn’t have that. Thanks Gretchen! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OH no, too bad you didn’t enjoy that book so much! I understand your feelings though, especially if the main character was one you couldn’t relate to and left you confused at times. With a character changing her mind so often, I understand why you were like that, I would probably be just as well! That book sounded really promising and I liked the synopsis, but I think I’ll proceed with caution if I read it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah unfortunately this just wasn’t the book for me. It does seem like recently the books I’ve rated low are books where I just haven’t connected with the characters at all and RoseBlood was another one. Both Rune and Thorn felt kind of flat and there was nothing I could really connect with with either of them.
      If you do read it maybe you’ll enjoy it more than me, you never know, I wonder if having lowered expectations will help in this case. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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